Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), a conservative critic of President Trump who not too long ago left the Republican Occasion, wouldn’t rule out a 2020 presidential bid on Sunday, doubtlessly complicating Trump’s path to reelection.
The prospect of an Amash insurgency, which might face vital hurdles, has unnerved some GOP strategists as a result of it might pull libertarian and conservative assist away from Trump, who received the 2016 election with razor-thin margins in six states, together with Michigan.
“I nonetheless wouldn’t rule something like that out,” Amash stated in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” when requested whether or not he would search the White Home as an unbiased or a third-party candidate. “I’ve to make use of my expertise, my public affect, the place it serves the nation finest.”
For the second, Amash stated he plans to run for reelection to the Home subsequent yr as an unbiased. He stated is he “very assured” that he’ll win his Grand Rapids-area seat once more.
A presidential run is “one thing folks speak about on a regular basis,” Amash informed CNN’s Jake Tapper, however it’s “not one thing on my radar proper now.” He added that he doesn’t have a timeline for a choice.
Amash insisted there’s room for a fierce Trump critic like himself to rise nationally, regardless of the president’s perceived tight grip over conservatives. He stated some Republican officers and buddies have been “sending me textual content messages, calling me” to supply encouragement after his determination final week to depart the get together, and did the identical when he referred to as for Trump’s impeachment in Might.
However, he acknowledged, “they’re not saying it publicly, and it’s problematic for our nation and the Republican Occasion — and the Democratic Occasion — after they’re not allowed to talk out.”
Different Republican Home members, even those that have issues about Trump, have declined to exit the GOP.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who’s pleasant with Amash, informed NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Amash’s get together swap is “unlucky” and stated “Justin believes the get together isn’t sufficiently big for his place and his concepts.” However Hurd stated he’s sticking with the GOP and dealing to increase its attraction with minority voters and independents.
Trump’s lone notable Republican major challenger is former Massachusetts governor Invoice Weld, whose marketing campaign and average pitch has struggled to achieve traction this summer season. If Amash did launch a long-shot bid for the White Home, he wouldn’t run in that GOP contest however as an unbiased or a candidate for the Libertarian Occasion.
Amash, 39, who was elected within the tea get together wave of 2010, has embraced libertarian ideas and repeatedly broke together with his get together on main points earlier than he challenged the president.
A Trump political adviser who was not approved to talk publicly stated Sunday that the White Home is “retaining a watch” on Amash as a result of he might find yourself being a “nuisance” however stated the president’s camp is assured that GOP voters would dramatically reject such a candidacy.
Amash additionally left the conservative Home Freedom Caucus, a gaggle he helped discovered 4 years in the past, in June.
When requested Sunday about whether or not that group has corroded congressional debate, Amash stated its founding objective was to “open up the method” of legislating, significantly amongst Republicans, and defended its efforts.
In a Washington Put up op-ed revealed July 4, the Michigan congressman stated the two-party system is in a “partisan dying spiral.” Citing the warnings in George Washington’s farewell deal with, Amash wrote that People “have allowed authorities officers, underneath assertions of expediency and get together unity, to disregard essentially the most fundamental tenets of our constitutional order.”
Amash didn’t point out Trump by title within the op-ed, however his get together swap got here weeks after he posted tweets arguing that former particular counsel Robert S. Mueller III documented “impeachable conduct” in his report on Trump’s marketing campaign and administration and Russian interference within the 2016 election.
On Sunday, Amash informed CNN that he believes solely “15 p.c” of lawmakers in each events have learn Mueller’s report.
A couple of hours after Amash’s declaration, Trump derided him in a tweet: “Nice information for the Republican Occasion as one of many dumbest & most disloyal males in Congress is ‘quitting’ the Occasion. No Collusion, No Obstruction! Knew he couldn’t get the nomination to run once more within the Nice State of Michigan. Already being challenged for his seat. A complete loser!”
Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has dismissed Amash as an outlier amongst Republicans, citing various situations during which the congressman voted with Democrats.
“Justin Amash can decide his personal future. However I believe, on a philosophical foundation, he’s most likely in a distinct place than the vast majority of all of us,” McCarthy stated final month.
“I don’t have a response to it,” Amash stated Sunday of Trump’s scathing critique. “He thinks that individuals owe loyalty to him. However persons are elected to Congress with an oath to assist and defend the Structure.”
Donna Cassata contributed to this report.